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Action needed (US only): Ask your Senator to repeal DADT


In May, the US House of Representatives voted to include a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell as part of the Defense Authorization Bill. The US Senate Armed Services Committee also voted to pass that amendment along to the full Senate.

And now the Senate is about to vote on the bill.

And the Republicans are filibustering.

I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote to repeal DADT, especially if you live in Maine, Arkansas, Indiana, New Hampshire, Virginia, or Ohio.

Note that the amendment itself does not immediately overturn DADT. It just says that after the DoD's current ongoing Comprehensive Review on the policy is complete, and after the DoD has prepared any “necessary policies and regulations,” and after the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have signed off on everything, then (after a 60-day waiting period) the policy will be revoked.

In other words, even if this amendment passes, DADT will remain in effect until at least sometime in 2011. I would personally rather see things move faster than that, but I think we can put up with a little further delay if the amendment passes.

If you're nervous about calling your senator, you might work up to it by watching a totally charming video of two college students making the call. At the beginning of the video they don't know who their senator is; they find out, they call him, they leave voicemail for him. And then they take the next step, which is totally awesome, and which I won't describe because it's worth watching.

Also, their senator—Michael Bennet of Colorado—posted his own very brief YouTube response video. Yay for Senator Bennet!

P.S.: Yes, DADT has been declared unconstitutional. But what with likely appeals, I suspect that that case will take another couple years to resolve. And Americans tend to be happier about this kind of thing being resolved by legislatures than by courts anyway. I'm totally in favor of the courts resolving this stuff—I think that's part of what they're for—but I think a lot of Americans see this kind of court decision as suspect, so I'd like to see legislative victories when possible.

P.P.S.: For those concerned about what military people think of DADT, the Wikipedia article on DADT provides some interesting and useful data. And for those given pause by McCain's claims about a letter signed by 1100 retired officers opposing supporting DADT [sorry for the mistake; corrected now], I recommend reading about the Servicemembers United report on that letter. “The report found the average age among is the officers is 74, the oldest living signer is 98, and several signers died in the time since the document was published.” One general's wife signed it for him, after his death. A couple of people whose names are on the list say they weren't approached about the issue. And one general who signed the letter later recanted. And so on. Not to say we shouldn't listen to the views of retired officers—I've been known to point to retired officers who've recently spoken out against DADT—but I would take the McCain letter with a grain of salt.


"a letter signed by 1100 retired officers opposing DADT"

Opposing, or supporting?

I do know there are many old-school military who oppose DADT on the grounds that they want to ask, and they want people hunted down rather than being allowed to hide it.

This totally happened on my campus today, only outside with some kids and a laptop. I nearly died of sweetness.

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